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There was pandemonium along the Choba axis of the East-West Road in Port Harcourt, today , as men of the Rivers State Police Command clashed with students of the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, who were protesting increase of their school fees.

The protest came as the students are about to write their exams, blocking
all entrances and exists into the school thus preventing vehicular movement
in the ever busy Choba axis of the East-West road.

Nigerian Pilot learnt that trouble started when policemen deployed to
disperse the protesting students and open up the East-West Road blocked by
the students, fired tear-gas canisters, which made the students in return
to throw pellets at the security operatives.

The institution, Nigerian Pilot also gathered, had announced increment of
school fees to N47,000 since November 2015 giving the students April 4
2016, as ultimatum  to pay up or be deregistered as students of the

However, the students are demanding for the extension of the deadline, as
the time given to them is too short for them to pay up the new fees.

When contacted, the spokesman of the University of Port Harcourt, Dr.
Williams Wodi, dismissed the action, saying less than 2% of the students of
the institution participated in the protest.

Wodi said: “What is going on is that less than 2% of our students are
protesting and are refusing to allow workers and other students to come
into the campus to start their exams or do their legitimate duties.

“We sensitized our students as far back as November 2015, that we are going
to change the perception of University where students carry over school
fees from year one to the final year and that they should pay what we gave
as outstanding charges because we do charge school fees.

“We told them that all returning students are to pay N45,000. That has been
communicated through the school website, circular and the school bulletins.
When we wanted to enforce the payment at the beginning of the session we
saw that the compliance was very low the first deadline was February 21,
2016, so we extended it to March 11, 2016, we made it lecture free for all
students so they could pay their fees. We recorded some mileage. Then we
extended it to March 30, 2016.

“We still had some students who had still not paid so we opened our portal
on April 5 for them to pay but we still had problems with a couple of them
and reopened it on April 6 and closed it on midnight of April 7. You can
see that from November last year to February 12, March 11, March 30, April
5 and finally April 7 about 98% of students complied but about two per cent
of the
students have not complied and they are the ones making heaven and earth

“My position is the position of the Senate of the institution. All those
who are yet to pay by midnight of April 7, 2016 will automatically carry
over the semester not deregistered.”

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